While the papers were speculating on Hammond's predictable Budget, Brexit was closing in on us. And the closer we get to the "decisive" December round of the negotiations, the more loony the Brexit fundamentalists are becoming.
So, David Davis insists that he can only conduct negotiations in Brussels if he is ferried around in a private jet paid for by the taxpayer. Liam Fox hails a new era of "free trade" in which Britain will "lead" the world, like in the good old days of the 19th century. As to their money man, Hammond, he went on record saying on the Andrew Marr Show that "there are no unemployed people" and that he had turned Britain into a "jobs factory"!
Never mind that, having slashed millions of productive jobs, British capital's goods exports represent a smaller proportion of GDP than in any other EU country, except Greece! Never mind either, that in addition to the 1.5m who have no work at all, Britain has one of the EU's largest populations of under-employed workers in low-paid non-jobs!
Not only do these politicians live on another planet, but in addition to being farcical, their grandiose delusions are just plain dangerous!
Enough of their nationalist nonsense!
Their latest craze has to do with the vexed issue of the Brexit "bill" - the money the government owes due to Britain's past commitments, in return for the benefits of EU membership. Over the past week, this Brexit "bill" has featured in all the newspaper headlines, while the Tory right-wing was huffing and puffing in fury - as if this was anything new!
What's the big deal? The sum of £53bn in question, would add a mere 3% to the national debt and could be recouped in just 2 years by restoring the rate of corporation tax to 30% - where it was a decade ago! Or to look at this figure another way, it is just over half the amount that the shareholders of British companies will get in dividends in 2017 alone!
But for the Westminster Brexit bigots, this is just another pretext to indulge in their same old irresponsible overbidding, regardless of the consequences for the economy and for the rest of us. So, now, we see them posing as "victims" of the EU countries, accusing these countries of "ganging up" against Britain. As if it was not the Brexiteers’ campaign of lies which created this mess in the first place, for us, as well as for the whole of the EU!
And they want us to rally behind their Union Jack, to "defend" a government which is squandering far larger amounts of public funds in the form of tax breaks and other subsidies for the sole benefit of the tiny minority of wealthy capitalists?
It cannot be in our interests to line up behind politicians who only want to squeeze even more out of our labour in the name of their so-called "British sovereignty"! Not any more than it can be in our interests to allow them to divide the ranks of the working class by setting British workers against foreign workers, whether from the EU or not!
Back to our class interests!
Meanwhile, in the real world, Brexit inflation is hitting our standard of living, as wages are lagging far behind prices. Let's make no mistake, today's 3.9% RPI inflation is just a foretaste of what's to come: the world crisis means that Brexit, like any other potential cause of instability, is bound to generate on-going, unpredictable jitters.
And it's obviously not Hammond's Budget which will do anything about this. While it says nurses might get a pay rise, it says nothing about removing the public sector pay cap. And it only reduces the present scandalous 6 weeks waiting time for Universal Credit to 5 weeks! But it does include all kinds of new perks for businesses and the wealthy. Like previous Budgets, it is designed to help the rich to get even richer. After all, doesn't it stick to Osborne's target of lowering corporation tax down to 17% by the end of the decade?
As to the claim that May intended to do anything about the chronic housing crisis faced by the working class, it has apparently got lost. There is no fund in this budget for the new social housing which is so desperately needed. The only state funding for housing (already announced) will go to property developers via the "Help to Buy" scheme for the better-offs or via stamp duty cuts for first time buyers! And there's no plan either, to curb the greed of landlord sharks.
Over the coming period, the working class has its work clearly cut out. Whatever happens with Brexit, politicians will do their utmost to redirect more and more public funds into the pockets of the capitalists and wealthy, while the bosses will use every trick in the book to squeeze more out of the working class. Whether we allow this to happen or not, is entirely in our hands. We have the numbers and the strength - we can make them pay!